The Detroit Pistons have parted ways with head coach Maurice Cheeks. Despite a heaping cluster of young talent, the Pistons are 21-29 through their first 50 games of the season, just shy of a playoff spot. However; this move came as a surprise, since the Pistons have won four of their last six, most recently back-to-back. Reports indicate that the separation was driven by ownership. Pistons owner Tom Gores had this to say regarding Maurice Cheeks’ dismissal:
“Our record does not reflect our talent and we simply need a change. We have not made the kind of progress that we should have over the first half of the season. This is a young team and we knew there would be growing pains, but we can be patient only as long as there is progress. The responsibility does not fall squarely on any one individual, but right now this change is a necessary step toward turning this thing around. I still have a lot of hope for this season and I expect our players to step up. I respect and appreciate Maurice Cheeks and thank him for his efforts; we just require a different approach.”
Via Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated
Assistant coach John Loyer will fill in for Maurice Cheeks in the interim. Loyer was part of the Trail Blazers organization alongside Cheeks from 2001-2005, first as a video coordinator, then as a scout, then as assistant coach. The Pistons will look to draw up a contract for someone else as soon as possible, since Loyer doesn’t quite represent the new direction they are hoping for. Former Grizzlies head coach (and Trail Blazer great) Lionel Hollins is reportedly interested in the position.
I will like to thank Mo Cheeks for everything, thank you for helping me become a better person & player. I’m still learning
— BRANDON JENNINGS (@BrandonJennings) February 9, 2014
We must stay strong. This is part of the game. Must stay focus and keep playoff in mind. We are a talented team, one game at a time. — Charlie Villanueva (@CV31) February 9, 2014
Wow… — Peyton siva (@PeypeySiva3) February 9, 2014